Apple Announces iPad Air 2, iPad Mini 3, iMac Retina, New Mac Mini
Apple announced all the things today. Which things? All the things – specifically most of the things that we already thought they’d formally announce, including new iterations of the iPad tablet line, and new Mac computers to boot.
iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3
After an “accidental” leak yesterday, these two new models of the iPad were officially revealed. The iPad Mini 3 has a 7.9-inch display and will start at $399 with 16 GB of internal storage, Wi-Fi connectivity (with cellular connectivity possible at a higher price), Touch ID, and is available in gold, as predicted. Pre-orders on the new Mini start tomorrow, as do pre-orders for the iPad Air 2 for a hundred dollars more. At $499, you get 16 GB of internal storage and Wi-Fi. As ever, paying more gets you more, with double the storage for every $100 more you spend. And, like the Mini, this one also features Touch ID and comes in gold. Hooray!
While we knew a lot of the details on both of those devices, Apple did offer a surprise in the form of a new kind of SIM card – called, appropriately, the Apple SIM – that will come with cellular-capable iPads, and give users the ability to switch carriers depending on who they’re buying from. It seems that AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile are all three of the choices, so if you’re a Verizon customer, you’re SOL. Even still, it’s a nice feature that will help users from getting stuck with one carrier for the life of their device. Frankly, it’s the kind of feature that should be in every cellular capable device, so maybe this could be the start of a major shift thanks to Apple.
Retina 5K iMac and Mac Mini
As we’d heard, Apple debuted a new Retina display iMac desktop computer, a 27-inch, 5K (5120×2880) resolution, $2499 monster of a machine that ships today. The starting package boasts a 3.5 GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 CPU, an AMX Radeon R9 M290X GPU, 8GB of RAM, and a 1TB Fusion Drive. Apple also revealed a new Mac Mini desktop that’ll start at a measly $499, so if you’re looking to get into Apple computing on the cheap, you’re all set. It’s got a 1.4 GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 with Turbo Boost CPU, 4GB of RAM, an Intel HD Graphics 5000 GPU, and a 500 GB hard drive. The next iteration costs $200 more and doubles the internal storage and RAM, bumps up the CPU, and maybe it even makes your lunch. Don’t quote me on that last one.
OS X Yosemite Available for Free
If you already have a Mac, where are the announcements for you? Well, Mac users who want to upgrade to the latest version of the operating system can download OS X Yosemite from the Mac App Store right now – for free. If you’re using a device that’s running iOS 8, you’ll be able to enjoy many of the cool features Apple demonstrated at WWDC this past summer, like Hand Off, which allows you to start and stop tasks and activities on your Mac and pick them up on your iOS device, and vice versa. It’s a great little feature, and should be a huge boon to Mac fans who have stayed exclusively within the Apple ecosystem.
WatchKit and Apple Pay
Apple also followed up on a few of the big announcements from last month’s event – specifically relating to the Apple Watch and Apple Pay. The WatchKit SDK will go live in November, which will allow software developers to begin making their iOS apps work with the Apple Watch, or perhaps to simply develop all new apps for the wearable. Apple Pay, meanwhile, will launch on October 20, so if you’ve been itching to pay for your coffee by waving your magic iPhone at a machine, you’ll soon have your chance.
Big Year for Apple
That’s about it, but man, that was a lot. The products announced at today’s event would be more than enough to make it a banner year for any tech company, but with last month’s iPhone 6 and Apple Watch reveals, it’ll be rolling in dough by the holiday season.
Apple is pulling off the trick of innovating just enough to keep the evolution of its technology feeling fresh and inventive, while maintaining older, steady product lines in such a way that it can guarantee success. I’m not entirely sure that the new iPads will find too many new buyers, since the “older” generation of iPads work just fine for the most part. Even still, rotating these new versions in will mean discounts on older models, guaranteeing a happy holiday for many who’ve had their eye on Apple’s tablet.
What do you think of what Apple had to offer? Between today’s Apple event and yesterday’s Android announcements from Google, what’s got you more excited?